The root or the basic style of bluegrass music originally comes from the Irish and English people who migrated to America in the 1600s. But this music got the real popularity in the early 1900s and the first popular musicians were the Monroe Brothers. After that artists like Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and Lester Flatt dominated this area of music for a long time, but women were always a part of this music from the beginning, and many of them have got fame and recognition. And till today we have got many influential women who are making the bluegrass scene more rich by their lovely voice, songwriting and instrumental playing talents.
Female bluegrass artists also perform well in writing their own songs and music. In this article, you will get to know about their early stage of being bluegrass musician, their efforts and contribution in bluegrass. We have also made a list of some greatest female artists ever in bluegrass and the top bluegrass albums you might love. These finest women clearly have made the bluegrass more thriving with struggle and passion. So, let’s proceed below to know.
The Voices in Bluegrass – Top Female Bluegrass Artists and their Albums
Bluegrass had always been dominated by some greatest male artist. It was not an easy road for women. But some women had come, won the heart of bluegrass listeners and show us the path of inspiration.
The struggles reflected their difficulties. But they did not stop. They discovered who they actually were and expressed their true talent in bluegrass. We can say the name Hazel Dickens first. Hazel Dickens was an American bluegrass singer and was born on June 1, 1935, West Virginia. At her early age, she met with poverty very badly. But she never left her passion. After meeting with Mike Seegar, who was a member of the New Lost City Band, Hazel discovered her true talent in bluegrass and was continuously improving herself in this music genre. During this time, Hazel made a good relationship with Alice Gerrard who was Mike’s wife, and had made two of her best bluegrass albums “Who’s That Knocking (1965)” and “Won’t You Come And Sing For Me (1973)”.
The second name we should mention is Sierra Hull. She can be the true inspiration for young girls and teenagers. She became famous at her very early age. You may wonder, just only at the age of 13, she was first signed to Rounder Records and got her first album released. Not only that, she became a top class American Bluegrass Singer just at 16. In 2008, her album named “Secrets” got the position number 2 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums chart. So, age knows no bounds. Women just need strength in mind and willpower to step forward. The whole world then claps at your success.
If you think women can only be good at singing not in songwriting and composition, you are wrong then. Women can be creative in various ways. You should definitely get inspiration from Claire Lynch, a famous and recognized creative individual in bluegrass music. She has a very lovely and deep voice. Her fame has got a new dimension with her superb songwriting talent. Her “Train Long Gone” was on top of the bluegrass song chart for about 2 months and it was written by herself.
In recent years, women are being specialized in playing a various musical instrument as well. Kristin Scott Benson on Banjo, Becky Buller on fiddle and Sierra Hull on mandolin. So, women are being forwarded in the bluegrass as well as in instrumental music industry. Another one is Molly Tuttle, from Berklee College of Music in Boston, has become the first women nominated for IBMA Guitar Player of The Year. This is a huge success for a woman in bluegrass we think. These recent female bluegrass singers got their inspiration from their predecessors, work hard for their passion and have won their dream.
Besides, there are more influential female bluegrass artists who have made their path glory with their talent in bluegrass. Such as, Rhonda Vincent who got her first album released at the age of only 8. Lynn Morris who had made her own band named “The Lynn Morris Band” and won national banjo champion in 1974. Besides, there are female bluegrass singers who got numerous awards and recognition that can be a true inspiration for every woman, can make you think that you also can.
However, we should mention some of the name and their awards from which you can get inspiration. First one is Emmylou Harris. She got 14 Grammies and Polar Music Prize. Dale Ann Bradley was selected 5 times female vocalist of the year. Amanda Smith was named “Female Vocalist of The Year” in 2014. And there are so many of them. Which indicates us that women are not lagging behind. They also can dominate and rule any of the industries. And bluegrass has got its integrity.
The Greatest Bluegrass Albums You Should Listen
Have you ever been into bluegrass? There are many kinds of music similar to bluegrass like country music, white music, hillbilly music but the bluegrass music is always exceptional. Here are the greatest albums of female bluegrass artists ever…
- Claire Lynch — Moonlighter
- Alison Brown — Fair Weather
- The Cox Family — Beyond the City
- Somewhere South of Crazy
- Dale Ann Bradley — Don’t Turn Your Back
- Emmylou Harris — Roses in the Snow
- Buffalo Gals — First Borne
- Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard — Who’s That Knocking?
- Hazel & Alice — Won’t You Come & Sing for Me
- Laurie Lewis — Love Chooses You
- Lynn Morris Band — Shape of a Tear
- Rhonda Vincent — Back Home Again
- Sierra Hull — Weighted Mind
- Rhonda Vincent — The Storm Still Rages
- Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick — Together
“It seems like bluegrass people have more great stories to tell than other musicians.” – Dan Fogelberg
Women have a creative mind and soul and can contribute like men in any field. But it was always hard for women to come forward. But if you have read this article fully, you can see that the women above did not quit easily. They struggled, work for their passion and now we have the greatest bluegrass music to hear. That’s the ultimate success for them we think.